Chicago Archive

Thursday

11

June 2015

8

COMMENTS

LYFE Kitchen

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

Mother Nature has been playing a little game with Chicagoans’ hearts as of late, but at this point I think it is safe to say that we have entered that magical time known as Chicago Summer. All I have to say is – FINALLY! There’s a reason Kanye West raps about summertime Chi in ‘Good Life’ – it’s a wonderful, albeit short-lived, time when the city is at its very best. It’s also just about the only thing that makes up for the cold, dark, seemingly never-ending months that make up a Chicago winter.

One of the first signs of summer in Chicago is the opening of all the fantastic patios around the city. It’s why summer in Chicago is also referred to as “patio season”. Bars, restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and the like open up their rooftops and line their sidewalks with all the tables and chairs they can possibly fit to accommodate the pale, Vitamin D-deprived souls who have braved yet another Chicago winter (or the smart visitors who just show up when the going gets good). I’m always up for checking out a new patio, so when LYFE Kitchen invited me over for lunch at their newest location in Streeterville, I couldn’t pass it up.

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville patio

LYFE Kitchen is an up-casual (upscale casual) restaurant with current locations in Illinois, California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, and New York. They currently have 3 locations in the Chicago area (Streeterville, River North, and Evanston) and several more soon to come. Not only does LYFE (Love Your Food Everyday) Kitchen offer a TON of great tasting menu items – they have several menus catering to those with different diets like vegan or gluten-free. And the vegan and gluten-free menus are just as big as the regular menu! So basically you can eat really delicious, affordable food in a bright, beautiful setting and feel good about it.

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville

To start out you have to try at least one of the amazing LYFE Waters or Smoothies. I tried the Hibiscus Beet, and Ginger Mint Chia LYFE Waters and the Kale Banana Smoothie. I loved the Hibiscus – super refreshing with a subtle hint of beet (I LOVE beets!), and the kale smoothie was the perfect not-too-sweet options, but my favorite was the Ginger Mint Chia. The mint and ginger were super bright and refreshing and I loved the texture of the chia seeds.

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville

LYFE Kitchen also has an impressive line-up of alcoholic beverages – the perfect excuse to kick back and relax on their patio. Wine, beer, or cocktails – they’ve got a little of everything. I think their Pomegranate Sangria would be especially refreshing on a warm summer night…

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville, Drink Menu

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville image courtesy LYFE Kitchen

Next up you can start with the Edamame Hummus Plate to share and I highly suggest following it up with one of their delicious flatbreads. I tried the gluten-free BBQ Chicken and Margherita flatbreads and I would definitely order both again. Their Mahi Fish Tacos, Quinoa Crunch Bowl with Grilled Salmon, and Art’s Unfried Chicken with roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, dried cranberries, cashew cream sauce, and dijon vinaigrette are 3 great options for mains.

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville

LYFE Kitchen Streeterville

Last but not least is dessert, and LYFE Kitchen’s Chocolate Budino is AMAZING! This is not something I would usually order, I’m not usually a pudding/custard type of girl, but thank GOODNESS I tried this. Chocolate, pomegranate, chia seeds, and toasted almonds combine for a little slice of heaven. The chocolate is rich and the sweetness of the pomegranate balances it out perfectly. I would come back just for the Chocolate Budino.

LYFE Kitchen dessert

Long story short – if you’re looking for a delicious meal that you won’t feel bad about eating, get yourself over to LYFE Kitchen. Friends with food allergies or special diets? LYFE has you all covered. Looking for a cool patio where you can throw back a cold one or two? LYFE baby!

 

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Thursday

9

April 2015

8

COMMENTS

Brunch At Boho

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

Brunch…as if I needed another reason to love Boho.

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Lauren Folkmann

Bohemian House quickly became my favorite new addition to the Chicago restaurant scene after its opening last fall and it continues to be a spot that I find myself returning to again and again. When I found out they would soon be offering brunch I was ecstatic because I love Boho and, well, I also really fucking love brunch. I think that might be the first time I’ve dropped the f-bomb on the blog but what can I say, brunch just gets me all sorts of jazzed up.

Anyways, back to Brunch at Boho. Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos has created some gorgeous, delicious dishes for Boho’s new brunch menu and after trying nearly all of them I can confidently say that you can’t go wrong. But first, cocktails.

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Whiskey, Lauren Folkmann

We sampled the Pulaski Smash, the Pick Me Up, and the Mimosa. The Pulaski Smash is made with whiskey, lemon, passion fruit, green bell pepper, and mint. Yes, I said green bell pepper, and it’s really good. The mimosas are made with your choice of fresh squeezed juice and The Pick Me Up is basically a boozy coffee milk shake – it’s made with rye whiskey, bowtruss coffee, maple, and fernet whipped cream. Sam had to inform me on several occasions that I had whipped cream on my nose – I was really into it. On my next visit I’ll be trying the Pear Sidecar made with pear brandy and Becherovka because I love me some of that Czech liqueur.

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Rye Whiskey, Bowtruss Coffee, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Rye Whiskey, Bowtruss Coffee, Lauren Folkmann

The first dishes out of the kitchen were the Lox & Toast, Grilled Asparagus, and Gouda Bratwurst. The Lox & Toast was my favorite of the 3 with a soft boiled egg, cucumber, cream cheese, salmon roe, and dill on top of a thick and chewy slice of rye. The asparagus sat on top of gem lettuce dressed with mustard vinaigrette and were topped with a poached egg and some crispy chicken skin. The bratwurst was served over beer braised onions (yum) with spicy house mustard and pretty watermelon radish on top.

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Lox & Toast, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Lox & Toast, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Grilled Asparagus, Poached Egg, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Gouda Bratwurst, Lauren Folkmann

Next up were the Bavarian Pancakes, Smoked Beef Tongue Hash, Pork Schnitzel Sandwich, German Knackwurst, and the Skirt Steak & Eggs. So many good things! The consensus of the group was that the pancakes with apple, cider, pecans, farmer’s cheese, and powdered sugar were the best. I probably agree, but it’s a tough call – I also really loved the beef tongue hash with a poached egg, mustard hollandaise, and sweet & sour cabbage. (I really, really love sweet & sour cabbage)

The knackwurst is a side dish served with horseradish cream and although it may not look as exciting as the mains, that horseradish cream is very good. The schnitzel sandwich is large and in charge and is best for those with a hearty appetite. The steak & eggs was another solid dish to round out the mains served with a mushroom & pepper spätzle, sweet onions & aged gouda.

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Bavarian Pancakes, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Smoked Beef Tongue Hash, Poached Egg, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Pork Schnitzel Sandwich, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, German Knackwurst, Horseradish Cream, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Skirt Steak & Eggs, Lauren Folkmann

Wait, there’s more! We rounded out the meal with a few sweets – the Almond Poppyseed Cake, Chocolate-Cinnamon Scone, and Doughnuts. All were delicious but those warm little doughnut holes get me every time!

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Almond Poppyseed Cake, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Chocolate Cinnamon Scone, Lauren Folkmann

Chicago, Boho, Bohemian House, Brunch, Doughnuts, Lauren Folkmann

Boho begins serving their weekend brunch this Saturday from 10a-2p, better make your reservations now!

 

Wednesday

25

March 2015

2

COMMENTS

The Publican

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

Can you believe that this visit 2 weeks ago was my first time at The Publican? I’ve had reservations a handful of times but for some reason or another we always had to cancel – thankfully, not this time. Executive Chef Paul Kahan’s other restaurants (Blackbird, avec, Big Star, Nico Osteria) are without a doubt my favorites in the city (along with Bavette’s, of course), and now, not surprisingly, I’m very happy to add The Publican to that list.

The Publican

When we walked into The Publican I couldn’t help but feel like the dining room was giving me a giant bear hug. Odd way to describe a restaurant – maybe – but the space felt so warm, welcoming, and familiar and that’s exactly how it made me feel. From the oversized heritage hog paintings to the rustic decor and long communal tables resembling a European beer hall, it was the perfect spot to settle in and enjoy a great meal with friends.

The Publican

The Publican

We arrived for our reservation just as they opened at 10am and as we waited for our Bloody Marys, complete with beer backs, the dining room quickly filled up and was buzzing with pre-St. Patty’s excitement. We lost track of time over pickled garnishes and good conversation with my cousin and her husband but quickly got back to business as we began to see some of the mouth-watering plates leaving the kitchen. The Publican’s menu changes frequently based on seasonal ingredients that are available locally. Responsible and exciting – I’m all about that farm-to-table thang.

The Publican, Bloody Mary

I ordered the Corned Beef & Cabbage and it officially put all other corned beef & cabbage that I’ve had and will ever have to shame. A sizable All-Clad bowl filled with smoked shoulder, cabbage, dill, cornichon, sour cream, and rye was set in front of me and I had to remind myself to come up for air. The fresh dill and the cool sour cream mixed with those tender chunks of beef and warm cabbage was The Business. Remember when I said the dining room gave me a great big bear hug? Well, this dish jumped in and did the same.

Other orders at the table were the Pork Schnitzel with black beans, potatoes, harissa aioli, and fried egg and the Dry-Aged Sirloin with cornbread pudding, mojo rojo, sunny side eggs, and radish. Both were really delicious dishes that everyone enjoyed, although I am very happy I went with my gut and gave the corned beef a try. It’s likely that it won’t be on the menu when I return, but that’s the beauty of a fantastic restaurant like The Publican – it just means another great dish will take its place, and I’ll have something new to gush about next time.

The Publican, Corned Beef & Cabbage

The Publican, Sirloin

The Publican, Schnitzel

 

The Publican is located at 837 W Fulton Market in Chicago‘s West Loop neighborhood.

 

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